My progressive values remain focused on social and economic justice, public education, and the environment. Working with progressive advocacy groups and individuals, I drafted and filed nine bills at the beginning of the 2019-2020 session of the state legislature, and three more to respond to the COVID-19 public health pandemic. I will co-sponsor many more bills to help Massachusetts continue its journey toward justice, equity, and opportunity for every resident.
Bills Filed in Response to COVID-19
HD4948 An Act relative to the powers of city and town officials during a public health emergency
Filed well before Governor Baker suspended non-essential business activity, this bill would allow mayors and select boards to impose limitations on the operation of businesses within the city or town, including but not limited to limitations on business hours, operating procedures of types of businesses, and closing of types of businesses during the COVID-19 state of emergency.
HD5015 An Act relative to showing residential property
This bill prohibits an apartment owner, landlord or any agent thereof from entering the premises of occupied residential real property for the purpose of showing the unit to a prospective tenant, purchaser, mortgagee or any agent thereof for the duration of the COVID-19 state of emergency.
HD5024 An Act authorizing remote participation at representative town meetings due to the COVID-19 emergency
Drafted in consultation with Brookline’s Moderator Gadsby, this bill makes a series of technical changes to allow representative town meetings to meet virtually.
Bills Filed Beginning the 2019-2020 Session
H75 An Act Establishing a Sick Leave Bank
Passed House and Senate; signed into law by the Governor
A long-time state employee and resident of Brookline is fighting a terrible disease. Pamela has exhausted all of her sick and vacation time, but needs a bit more time to recover before returning to work. This bill allows her colleagues at the Department of Children & Families to donate their sick or vacation time to her, so that she can complete her recovery and then return to work.
H.3617 An Act Relative to Senior Property Tax Deferral
There is a senior property tax deferral program in place now, but it is restrictive and punitive. This bill seeks to (a) eliminate the requirement that the senior be a 5-year resident of that home and a 10-year resident of Massachusetts, (b) increase the income eligibility to the same standard of eligibility for the senior circuit breaker tax credit, (c) reduce the default interest rate from 8% to a rate based on recent state and local bond rates, (d) delay the interest rate increase to 16% from the day of the senior’s passing to one year later to allow his or her family the time necessary to settle the estate, and (e) require the municipality to inform participants of their current balance at least annually.
H.3626 An Act Relative to Roadway Safety
Current law is ambiguous with respect to how bicyclists, skaters, or other non-motorized transportation users are expected to use unsignalized crosswalks such as those on multi-use paths. This bill would make it clear that these users are to act as pedestrians and be treated as such — they should yield to automobiles that would be unable to stop, and that vehicles that can safely stop must do so to allow safe crossing.
H.3627 An Act Relative to the Enhancement of Child Safety
Ice cream trucks are required to have and use yellow flashing lights when selling treats, similar to tow trucks when performing a tow. This bill seeks to provide an enforcement mechanism, allowing law enforcement officers to assess a $50 fine to any ice cream truck not using yellow flashing lights when selling desserts. Secondly, it would include inspection of these lights as part of the annual vehicle safety inspection process.
H.3624 An Act Relative to Vehicle Excise Tax for Rental Cars
This bill would require that the proportional fraction of rental cars (traditional, moving, and carshare) be registered in the communities in which the companies do business, thereby ensuring that the host cities and towns receive the excise tax associated with the automobiles that are housed within their community.
H.3599 An Act Prohibiting Certain Fees Connected to Rental Cars
Car rental companies have been charging significant daily fees — as much as $15/day — to users who drive the cars on the Mass Pike, the Tobin Bridge, or any other Massachusetts roadway with open road tolling. This bill would allow the rental car company to charge the renter for the toll itself, but would not allow any additional “convenience fee.”
H.593 An Act to Ensure Charter School Transparency and Public Accountability
This bill would require charter schools to operate in a manner more similar to public schools. Documents and budgets must be made public, and meetings must be open to the public and held locally. Parents must be a more integral part of decision making.
H.1120 An Act to Require Health Care Coverage for Medically Necessary Treatment for Disease, Illness, Injury, or Bodily Dysfunction Required by a Student’s Individual Educational Program
This bill would ensure that the roughly 100 medically fragile students in the Commonwealth are able to use their own medical team during the school day, and ensure that school departments aren’t obligated to absorb any more of the cost than they would under their current obligation.
H.2930 An Act Sparking the Modernization of State Heating Systems
This bill seeks to provide job training for the installation and service of electric heat pumps, particularly to those who perform similar tasks for fossil fuel fired systems; to modernize specific rate-making and cost-benefit analyses related to natural gas; and to prohibit expenditures by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to be used for the purchase or installation of new fossil fuel fired heating systems.